Guest curator introduces the opposites of nature

Guest curator introduces the opposites of nature

Guest curator introduces the opposites of nature
October 29
09:02 2013

Porschia Paxton and Janae Pulliam / Contributing Writers

Lisa Hatchadoorian is a lifelong lover of the arts and nature. She has danced, played instruments, loves hiking, long walks and this year, she has put together an exhibit that reflects her love of nature.

This semester from Sept. 19 to Nov. 2, the UNT Art Gallery on the first floor of the Art Building holds the exhibition aiming to bring about the ideas of man’s deconstruction of nature and the un-ideal appearance of what we think nature looks like, according to an essay by Hatchadoorian.

“I wanted to convey an exhibition that was going beyond an aesthetic look at the beauty of nature,” she said.

Hatchadoorian was invited by UNT Gallery Director Tracee Robertson to be a guest curator for an exhibition this semester. Everything fell into place, as the ideas she already had swirling in her mind for a year were perfect for the type of exhibit Robertson was looking to bring to UNT.

“I was interested in bringing a new voice to the program,” Robertson said.

She said her goal is to show diverse sets of work that all [UNT] students can relate to. Hatchadoorian already had some artists in mind whose work she had seen as she travelled. She eventually picked eight artists who live all across the country.

“This was a big show – we usually do much smaller ones,” Robertson said.

Some of the artists she contacted were Amy Gross, Roberley Bell, Gregory Euclide and Mari Andrews. Robertson’s favorite artist in the exhibition, Euclide, uses trash he finds on his land and incorporates it in his artwork. All artists had pieces that Hatchadoorian thought would be perfect for the theme, which was bringing awareness to man’s effect on nature and the environment in an abstract way.

“She had seen my work at a show in New York, at the Rockland Center for the Arts, called Flowers, Follies and Other Rites of Spring, which was curated by her good friend Kenise Barnes,” Gross said. “She thought my objects would fit in with the ideas she had been working with.”

Gross had her art featured with two other artists from the Gallery before, including Bell.

Bell has an approach to her art that explores the line between real and artificial, human and natural. Her pieces in “Beyond Natural” show forms that look as if they come from nature, but are computer-generated designs, according to the exhibition catalog edited by Joan Secrest.

Bell’s manipulation of nature through art display is one of the ideas brought throughout the exhibition in every one of the artist’s pieces.

Her pieces include a lot of birds. One of them specifically chirps whenever people walk by.

“I love the way that it’s the sort of synthetic version of nature, there’s something so peaceful about it, but then its sort of animated as the bird comes to life as you walk past it,” said Cala Coats, an art education and art history teaching fellow and art education doctoral student who visited the exhibit.

The bird has been known to scare visitors since none of the other pieces are animated. Hannah Wilson, an art history sophomore and gallery assistant who calls herself the “Gallery Babysitter,” said she has had to warn many people about the piece so they wouldn’t be so startled. The piece is very popular, however, and the gallery has been considered a success.

Robertson said that, as of Sept. 27, a total of 557 people visited the exhibit since its opening reception Sept. 19.

“That’s the most that we’ve ever had for one exhibition this early,” she said.

Robertson said she knew Hatchadoorian was capable of this work.  They had been graduate students together at Bard College in New York, but putting this exhibit together was the first time they had worked together.

“Beyond Natural offers a dynamic context in which to consider one’s relationship with the natural world,” Robertson said.

Hatchadoorian selected artwork that not only fulfills one’s attraction to beauty and thought in nature, but also challenges this beauty by calling attention to our responsibility as humans with the environment.

“I like the use of what they’re going for with the nature in now modern times, and how there’s no such thing as true nature everything is being changed by industry,” Wilson said.

Wilson will help continue “sitting” the Beyond Natural exhibit until Nov. 2, the last day it will be shown.

Art History sophomore Hannah Wilson, stands next to a piece by Roberley Bell. Wilson helped put apart of this piece together after it was shipped to UNT for the exhibition. All pieces by Bell showcase birds and vivid colors in some way. Feature photo by Porschia Paxton / Intern Photographer 

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